The Q&A Archives: Removing Suckers

Question: How can you positively identify a sucker on a rose bush? Can you cut the sucker off at any time or should you wait until you prune in early spring?

Answer: Suckers are shoots that grow from below the graft union on your rose bush. The generally grow straight up and they're usually quite vigorous (in their rate of growth) compared to the rest of the canes on the shrub. Look at the main stem and find the graft, then pull the suckers off with a firm downward motion. Pulling suckers off will also take some of the growth buds out, which will keep the same sucker from resprouting. If you cut the suckers off you'll encourage them to grow even more! Remove suckers anytime you discover them.

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